A few highlights include:My term on the CACREP Board comes to an end in July, wrapping up fives years of service, the last two years as Chair. It’s amazing how quickly the time has passed. It’s likewise remarkable how much has been accomplished by the CACREP staff and the Board of Directors during that time.
- Development and implementation of the 2016 CACREP Standards
- CORE/CACREP affiliation and merger agreements
- Development and publication of numerous resources for faculty and programs, including guiding statements on faculty credentials and program evaluation, as well as a series of accreditation mini-manuals
- Strengthening of accreditation through the addition of staff and improvements to review processes
- Publication of the book “A Guide to Graduate Programs in Counseling”
All of this (and more) was accomplished while managing the day-to-day activities of accrediting approximately 780 programs (including 180 that were added in the past five years). It is wonderful to note that CACREP has provided this kind of service to the profession for decades and will continue to do so for decades to come!
In July, Dr. Kelly Coker will enter as the 13th Chair of the CACREP Board of Directors. Dr. Coker’s expertise and judgment will serve CACREP and the counseling profession well; particularly as CACREP addresses some fairly weighty issues. A few examples are in order. It’s important to note that the items below are just three of the many issues currently being addressed by CACREP. Over the course of the next five years, CACREP will face dozens of issues of similar substance.
Competency Based Education: Higher education is rapidly changing. Some of these changes, like the introduction of competency based education, challenge fundamental assumptions about what education is and how it should be delivered. CACREP has formed a joint task force with ACES to explore the potential impact of competency based education on counseling programs. Among other things, this task force will actively engage the counseling community by gathering important feedback and context around CBE. The recommendations from this task force will allow CACREP to make informed decisions about how competency based education fits within the context of program accreditation. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with ACES on this project!
Program Candidacy: CACREP’s Internal Process Committee (IPC) is exploring options for a program candidacy status. As increasing numbers of states require CACREP accreditation for licensure, it’s important that CACREP have policies in place that allow for the recognition of new counseling programs. Currently the only option for formal recognition from CACREP is accreditation after programs have graduates. Program candidacy will allow new programs to receive recognition from CACREP from the start so that they can compete in an equitable manner with existing accredited programs. There is work left to do before we are ready to introduce program candidacy, but a great deal of progress has been made and we are hoping to introduce this option in the coming year.
CORE/CACREP Merger: The most significant change CACREP will face over the coming months is the merger with the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). This merger is years in the making and the outcome of many hours of work on the parts of both CORE and CACREP. The impact of the merger is profound. Not only will the merger result in CACREP accreditation for rehabilitation counseling programs (opening numerous opportunities for employment in federal settings for graduates of these programs), the merger will also ensure that rehabilitation standards are embedded in CACREP’s core curriculum standards in ways that better prepare all counselors to serve individuals with disabilities. Recognizing the importance of a smooth transition, CACREP and CORE are working closely to ensure open communication between organizations and with the rehabilitation counseling community.
When I interviewed for a position with the CACREP Board of Directors I was told it was a “working Board.” I have found this to be absolutely true: a working Board with an incredibly supportive and hard-working staff. Beyond hard work, I believe that CACREP’s effectiveness is the result of a common sense of vision, great relations between the Board and the staff, and the steady leadership of Dr. Carol Bobby, who has served as CACREP’s CEO & President for over 30 years.
When you get a chance, I hope you will take a moment to join with me in thanking both the Board and staff for their extraordinary dedication and service to our profession!